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Cardiac Computed Tomography: Is it Ready for Primetime?


John J. Mahmarian

From Methodist DeBakey Heart Center, Houston, Texas, US
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The last decade has witnessed dramatic improvements in computed tomography (Cn technology with the development of both electron beam (EB) and multi-detector (MD) CT systems. EBCT provided the first attempt at high-resolution "freeze frame" images of the heart and coronary arteries, with 50 msec image acquisition times obviating distortion and blurring of the continuously moving myocardium. Developments in MDCT have included increasing gantry speeds to improve temporal resolution and the addition of multiple detector arrays that allow submillimeter spatial resolution and reduced image acquisition times.

Although EBCT has higher temporal resolution than MDCT and lower radiation exposure through prospective triggering of the X-ray beam at a specific time in the cardiac cycle, MDCT provides higher spatial resolution and is generally more accessible to the medical community. Both techniques can be used to assess cardiac structure, determine the presence and extent of coronary artery calcification and provide high-resolution, noninvasive coronary angiography.

The following article describes the current proposed uses of cardiac CT and its potential integration with other imaging modalities such as stress tomographic myocardial perfusion imaging (SPECT).

How to Cite: 1. Mahmarian JJ. Cardiac Computed Tomography: Is it Ready for Primetime?. Methodist DeBakey Cardiovascular Journal. 2006;2(3):5-11. DOI:
Published on 01 Jan 2006.
Peer Reviewed


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